Vinyl sales rise as Manchester record shops see best deals ever


The revival of vinyl is well underway.

More than five million records were sold in the UK last year – a 30-year high, according to the British Phonographic Industry (BPI).

Vinyl sales have increased in each of the past 14 years, with the Entertainment Retailers Association (ERA) recording a 23.2% increase since 2021, projected sales will increase even more in 2022.

And the surge in interest has sent sound waves through Greater Manchester’s 29 record shops, which are reaping the rewards in the aftermath of the Covid-19 pandemic.

Wax and Beans – a record and coffee shop that opened in Bury in 2019 – is among those that have seen a surge in trade even in its short history.

Owner Ben Soothill said: “We had a standing start.

“We had no customers on the first day, so the idea was still a record store, but we tried to hedge our bets a bit.

“So we thought the wax and the beans were obviously the records and the coffee.”

In fact, the shop has been so successful that they recently moved to larger premises to keep up with demand.

“We started in the small shop in June 2019 not knowing if we were going to get anyone through the door,” he said.

“We didn’t have any customers to begin with, but the support the company has now is amazing.

“We just got busier month by month.”

Ben Sooting from Wax and Beans on vinyl

So why the vinyl revival? There are many ways to track vinyl growth using sales and analytics. But it’s less clear why the format has had such a resurgence, and it’s impossible to use data to find the answer.

One explanation could be that vinyl can also provide a more personal listening experience for fans, allowing consumers to feel a more permanent connection with their favorite artists than they would through streaming.

Andy Keating – label manager of the Manchester-based label and live promoter Scruff of the Neck – says the physical records help establish a close relationship between the two.

He said, “I still think the physical format is important in terms of the experience for the listener and the fan more than anything.

“There’s a kind of tangible experience with picking up a record, putting it on the turntable, setting the speed, arm going, the crackle before it starts, then flipping it halfway. -way.”

Andy also pointed out that the medium’s retro appeal could be a contributing factor to its success, with younger generations wanting to be part of the experience.

He said: “I think there’s almost like a fake nostalgia where people who weren’t around at the time of the vinyl are looking back at their father’s collection, or their grandfather’s, or their mother’s and say ‘oh wow that’s how my parents or my grandparents consumed music’.

Andy Keating of Scruff of the Neck on vinyl

While vinyl is enjoying something of a renaissance, streaming is king when it comes to stats. Profits recorded from audio streaming in the UK last year were £147.2bn according to ERA, having risen significantly from the £90.9bn recorded in 2019. Estimates suggest also that UK citizens streamed an average of 2,342 tracks last year, or around 159 billion in total. – which equates to about five days of music.

Andy believes that streaming is an indispensable tool for artists to grow and build an audience.

“Streaming in some parts of the music industry is like a dirty word, but it’s the number one way the world is consuming mustic,” he said.

“You may as well cease to exist if you don’t have a strong online presence.”

Andy also mentions that streaming can help convert a fan who listens to an artist through streaming platforms into someone who will buy vinyl. It’s something Ben agrees with, citing the cost of vinyl as a barrier for consumers.

Ben said: “Streaming is a fantastic product. Owning a record collection isn’t cheap, you have to be passionate about it.

“Because (streaming) costs you next to nothing, it frees up disposable income to then buy that record that you really enjoy and want to support the artist with.”

But Andy points out that for smaller artists, streaming can be unsustainable in terms of profits.

How much streaming platforms pay artists for 10,000 streams

Platform Amount per 10,000 streams (£)
Amazon Music Unlimited £10.96
Tide £5.63
Apple Music £5.56
Deezer £3.38
Youtube £2.66
Spotify £1.88
Amazon Premier £1.14
*Adapted from data from

Most streaming platforms are offering less than £10 for 1,000 streams, which is considerably lower than the average price of an album on vinyl in the UK last year – which was £24.10.

Andy said: “If we look at the sales numbers and we can move up the charts. Being able to sell physical formats, including vinyl, helps level the playing field in terms of sales.

“How much an artist and subsequently their label get paid for streams is absolutely nothing compared to what a vinyl record can be sold or marked up for.”

Record store owner Ben also points out that physical album sales can have a huge influence on chart success.

Ben said: “We are one of only around 30 stores in the UK that follow the charts.

“So if a band can come in and sell 100 copies of an album, that’s a win-win and it ticks a lot of boxes.”

So what happens next and will the spinning records keep the LP craze going? Vinyl is expected to become the dominant physical format in 2022, eclipsing CDs. In 2021, vinyl profits in the UK were £135.6m, compared to £150.1m for CDs. Vinyl also accounted for 47.1% of all profits from physical album sales.

But the two media have moved in opposite directions in terms of growth. Vinyl profits were up 23.2% from £110.1m in 2020, while CD profits were down significantly to £156.2m in 2020 and £217m pounds in 2019.

Music journalist Steve Mascord believes young collectors are key to ensuring vinyl remains relevant.

Steve, who is based in London and has written for publications such as Kerrang!, said: “I don’t see a single reason why it would go back given that young people are now interested.

“I can’t imagine people are going to get tired of it.

“The most important thing is that young people are getting into vinyl and if that’s the case, the growth will continue.”

More than a nostalgia factor, closely associated with the vinyl revival, Steve believes that as long as the format is seen as cool, people will keep buying.

Steve said: “There’s a cool factor to it and I think that’s a good thing.

“And record labels and bands hope it stays cool.

“It shows that you really love music, and it could get to the point where if you don’t own a turntable, people will say you’re not really a serious music fan.”

There is evidence to suggest that collectors are getting younger. An ERA survey suggested that two-thirds of record store owners have seen an increase in young people buying vinyl, which is good news for the format.

Music lovers will have to wait and see if this growth materializes or if it’s just noise. But the good news for record collectors is that vinyl doesn’t seem to be going away anytime soon. Which is definitely music to their ears.


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